Crew holds own at Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta

| Sports Editor

Going up against a number of Division I power conference schools, the Washington University men’s and women’s crew team competed this past weekend in the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta on April 17-18 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

While this was the third regatta for the team this season, the level of competition that they faced this time around featured some much bigger names than the first two. In the 12 heats the team participated in, they raced against the likes of the University of Texas, Ohio State University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Florida.

Given the high levels of competition, the team was happy with its performance. “We were extremely happy with how we did,” senior and men’s team captain Derek Turnbull said. “The novices won a gold medal against teams with top coaching. The lightweights were up against 10 other schools that recruit guys.”

The Men’s Novice Lightweight 4, referenced by Turnbull, took the gold in its A Final with a time of 7:09.30. The boat, with freshman rowers Paul Goedeke, Jeff Gerold, Geoff Gunter, George Steenkolk and freshman coxswain Ally Rifkind, managed to take first over Clemson University, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and Virginia Tech University.

“We were ahead from the beginning and we were really comfortable going into the race,” Gerold said. “Ally did a really great job in that race, motivating us to be strong off the start.”

Three other Wash. U. boats made it to A or B Finals events. The Women’s Novice 4 made it to the A Final before finishing in sixth with a time of 8:33.55.

In B Finals, the Men’s Novice 4 took sixth in 7:44.46 while the Women’s Varsity 8 took fourth place out of six at a 7:31.41 clip.

“Considering the makeup of our team, I thought we did extremely well,” sophomore Lindsay Lozito said, referencing the fact that the team only has one junior and is otherwise all sophomores and freshmen. “We did a lot better than we could’ve hoped.”

The Men’s Varsity 8 competed as well, although its 6:17.42 in the first heat gave it fifth place for the event, not enough to move on to the semifinals. Then again, it wasn’t the place that mattered to the team, but rather the performance.

“We were seeing how we could do against these D1 schools,” Turnbull said. “We had a good race. We know we’re not going to get medals against D1 schools.”

The team is back on the river in two weeks when it heads to Topeka, Kan., on May 1 for the Great Plains Rowing Championships. With this being the final regatta before nationals on May 22, the team is beginning to fine-tune its selection of boats.

“We have to talk about whether to practice and race our 8, or we can go back to 4s which we know we’re really good at and go for the gold in those events,” Turnbull said.